Tate & Lyle Americas LLC v. Glatt Air Techniques Inc., No. 17-1045 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Tate, sells ingredients to the food and beverage industry. Glatt sells processing equipment to the food industry. In 2008 the two entered a contract: Glatt would, for $7,042,022, design and build a three-story food-manufacturing machine (granulator) for Tate’s Sycamore, Illinois operation. The following year, with the granulator running, it caught fire and was seriously damaged. A flammable corn product that gave off flammable dust was being processed at the time. More than three years later Tate sued, claiming that the fire had resulted from defects in the granulator—either failure to install a fire-suppression system or defects in filters essential to filtering the flammable dust from the machine's exhaust. Tate sought damages of $7,784,767 for property damage, repair costs, and lost profits. Its insurer paid $2,743,248, and joined the litigation. Glatt counterclaimed for the unpaid balance on the contract. A magistrate ruled that a contract provision, forbidding the recovery of “special damages,” prohibited Tate from recovering lost profits. A jury awarded the insurer $853,254, but Tate and Glatt nothing. The parties’ contract entitled a prevailing party to “reasonable legal and other professional fees and expenses.” The judge awarded Tate $785,422.50, and its insurer $213,313.50, in attorneys’ fees plus expenses of $356,075.96. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to evidentiary rulings.